Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HIDDLE, n., v., adv. Also hiddil, hidle; heddle. [′hɪdl]

I. n. 1. A hiding place, a sheltered spot (Ags. 1957). Freq. in pl. hiddles, hiddils (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mearns2 1925). Sc.(E) 1868  D. M. Ogilvy Willie Wabster (1873) 10:
Garred ilk troot and saumont whiddle, Ilk kamper [sic] eel to seek its hiddil.
Ags. 1894  F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. 2:
The houses cowered down into the hiddles behind a clump of trees or broom-clad brae out of scathe of the East and North winds.

2. Used to mean a cluster, small group of buildings, etc. set close together, by confusion with Eng. huddle. Kcd. 1933  L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 49:
And what's that to the left, that hiddle of houses?
Mearns 1956 5 :
She bade i' the hiddles o' the close.

II. v. 1. To hide, conceal (Per., Fif. 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Ags. 1957). Edb. 1811  H. Macneill Bygane Times 22:
O man! they hiddled close the story, But Friends kent a' — and a' war sorry!
Sc. 1819  J. Rennie St Patrick III. xiii.:
Aye ye may hide the vile scurrivaig, it ye may, an' hiddle an' smiddle the deeds o' darkness!
s.Sc. 1847  H. S. Riddell Poems 11:
“Atweel dear sir,” said the guidman, “The thing we need na hiddle.”
Ayr. 1891  H. Johnston Kilmallie ix.:
Beenie was hidling the guid things intended for the minister's wife into the press.
Ags. 1928  Scots Mag. (May) 143:
The tears poored frae his een, he hiddlt his face in his hauns.

Hence hid(d)lin(g), hidden, secret (Ags., m.Lth., Bwk. 1957); secretive, underhand, furtive. Also used adv. and in form hid(d)lin(g) ways, -wise, secretly, by stealth (Dmf. 1957). Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 216:
Ask her, in kindness, if she seeks In hidling ways to wear the breeks?
Ags. 1819  A. Balfour Campbell xxxiii.:
He barked — approached our hidlin lair.
Sc. 1827  Literary Gazette (8 Sept.) 589:
I'll get in heddlingwise, when his back's turned.
Slk. 1829  Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xii.:
Slippit that into the potatoe-pot hidling ways.
Ayr. 1835  Galt in Tait's Mag. (Nov.) 744:
They had resolved to be privately married before he went abroad . . . I said that there was no reason to be so hidling about it.
Dmf. 1863  R. Quinn Heather Lintie 57:
Had Daniel na drawn back the screen, Syne hiddlin' pranks Appeared. . . .
Abd. 1867  W. Anderson Rhymes 104:
This her neebors manna ken — 'Twas sippit hidlinwise.
Mry. 1924  Swatches o' Hamespun 78:
The lemans fair wi' joes repair Tae hidlin neuks unseen.
Fif. 1957  :
He's gaun hiddlin aboot it — he's doing it in an underhand way.

2. intr. To nestle closely, take shelter (Kcd., Ags. 1957). Ags. 1894  A. Reid Songs 31:
Frae far an' near the neebors come, An' roond the hearth they hiddle.
Kcd. 1932  L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song 59:
Sometimes they hiddled in the lithe and the sleet sang past.

3. tr. To take into the shelter of one's arms. Per. 1904  R. Ford Hum. Sc. Stories (Ser. 2) 91:
As she hiddled the weeist o' the twa wee chaps on her knee.

III. adv. In a mysterious fashion. Ayr. 1789  D. Sillar Poems 154:
Gae fool, an' what you've said recal, An' own you've sair mistaken P[au]l, Wha from his very inmost saul Did speak sae hiddle.

[O.Sc. hiddil(l)is, hidlis, hiding places, from c.1420, hiddil(l), concealment, c.1450; Mid.Eng. hidlis, id. from 1382, O.E. hdels, id., sing., being mistakenly regarded as a pl. form. Later meanings show influence of Eng. huddle.]

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"Hiddle n., v., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Oct 2018 <>



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